|Oh, just eff off|
Tonight, a tired teenager with Prader-Willi Syndrome got her brain jammed and it’s all the fault of that particular film. It brought her fizzogg cogs to a grinding halt and caused an emotional breakdown.
If it was Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life I could somehow engage more with the importance of it. But Martin Clunes in Nativity 3 (or Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?, to give it its full title) is not something that should cause any emotion apart from complete indifference and maybe, at a push, disdain.
I unwittingly helped with the brain breakdown. I did what I should really have trained myself never to do, which is give a throwaway answer to what I realise now was a loaded question. I say loaded, what I really mean is that it was packing a revolver, a rifle, tear gas, pepper spray, a rocket launcher, and a Christmas cake made of Semtex. She knew the answer. She knew she wouldn’t like it. She asked it anyway, of course.
“Mummy, Uncle Mark will be buying me Nativity 3 for Christmas, won’t he?”
“Er, no, darling. It’s not out on DVD yet.”
“Um, I’m sure I looked this up for you the other day. Let me check. Yes, I thought so: it’s not out yet, and I can’t seem to see a release date anywhere yet.”
“OK. You need to listen carefully. It’s not out, so he definitely won’t be getting you it, because it doesn’t exist yet.”
I checked. Twice, because her certainty can sometimes have you doubting all powers of recollection and literacy.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart, it’s not out yet. But you can get it as soon as it is.”
“What do you mean, no?”
“It is out.”
“I don’t know what else to say.”
“You don’t need to say anything Mummy, because my teacher said it wasn’t in the cinema anymore so it must be out on DVD. Last year Nativity 2 was, and Uncle Mark bought me it for Christmas, so he must be getting me Nativity 3 for Christmas this year because it’s out.”
“But it’s not out.”
At this point, I realised I was locked in an argument with a PWS teenager, where black is white and there is bugger all you can do about it.
The tears came (hers, not mine, but I was tempted). I listened as she sobbed, and theorised, and insisted, and tied herself up in knots. At one point, she pronounced that Nativity 1 and 2 were going in the bin. This was followed up with the unexpected escalation of “I don’t like my teacher because she got it wrong and I don’t like my school because that’s where she got it wrong.” This crappy second sequel in a crappy series of crappy, cheap, Christmas films had turned into a huge emotional issue for her, as inconsequential things sometimes do.
So I wrangled her into the shower, washed and dried her hair (a tried and tested technique for moments like this, as the ‘discussion’ has to stop because the sound of the dryer is too loud). She calmed down as I helped her get ready for bed and gave her her hot chocolate.
It was all over. Sometimes, shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted is all you can do. No, wait, after the donkey, after the donkey has bolted. Dude.